What's Next For Omaha Police After Chief Buske Leaves?

Why is Buske leaving-and who will be Omaha's next Chief of Police?

Chief Buske has spent his entire career in Omaha. He says he doesn't mind leaving for the chief position in Bryan, Texas--a department that is six times smaller than Omaha's.

Buske spent his entire career in Omaha. Now that his five children are out of high school-he will be able to retire with a full pension.

This amounts to $98,000 a year...on top of his new Texas salary of $122,000.

Chief Buske says, "It's a combination of having 25 years here. A piece of the pension issue that is a factor. January in Texas as opposed to January here-particularly for my wife."

His future and his pension came up time and again during roundtable discussions.

"I've got 24-years on the job. I can retire. I like the city of Bryan, Texas. I love Omaha."

A citizen asked, "Will you be collecting pension while collecting another paycheck?"

"Yes, I will," Buske responded.

The citizen went on to ask Buske if he thought that was ethical. Busked said yes.

The Omaha Police Department is getting younger..and budgets are getting tighter.

Buske said since 2007, 170 officers have retired. That's close to 25% of the force.

He thinks the chief position should go to another Omaha officer. "The department is in good hands."

Among the four Deputy Chiefs next in line--Alex Hayes and Dave Baker are both eligible to retire.

Mary Newman has 20 years on the force. Libby Davis has 13 years on the force. Both were recently promoted.

Davis, who monitors department finances, accompanied the Chief during this week's budget talks.

Captains are also eligible to be promoted to chief.

The new Chief will be appointed by the Mayor.

Mayor Suttle does not know if he will hire a headhunter to fill the position.

Suttle says, "We'll buckle down and figure out our game plan. We're looking at three different ideas we might proceed."

The Mayor plans to begin his search for an interim Chief and replacement on Monday.


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